MSPs have expressed their deep concern at increasing child poverty and are appalled that children are going to school hungry. A hard-hitting report published today by MSPs on Holyrood’s Education have called for poverty proofing measures to help the poorest students. The Scotsman reports.
The report said there should be a review of meals policy, which takes into account schemes like the one offer in North Lanarkshire which offers free meals during the holidays.
The review should also examine ways of increasing free school meal uptake amid reports that the “stigma” attached to poverty is discouraging some children from accessing them.
Poverty-proofing measures should include ending requirements for excessively expensive or unnecessary pieces of school uniform. Reducing the complexity of school uniforms would reduce the cost burden of education on families
The report also suggested moving to online payments for school dinners or trips could disadvantage families without access to computers. During evidence sessions, the committee heard that some families cannot afford hot water for showers or beds which affected attendance at school and children’s readiness to learn when they are there.
Committee convener James Dornan of the SNP said “That this is an increasing problem in Scotland is utterly appalling, but we know that this is something that schools cannot tackle alone. Clearly the Scottish Government, education authorities and schools are working hard to address these issues, but there is still more to do.”
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